Solar panels harness the sunlight and are taking over every part of one’s home—and now, one’s boat!
If you’ve heard of marine solar panels, you’ve probably been left a little confused. Marine solar panels? What does that mean? Well, marine solar panels are, in fact, popular solar panels that you can put on your boat to help run the battery of the boat in a variety of ways.
Because marine solar panels aren’t yet as popular as regular roof solar panels that harness energy from sunlight and power homes, we’ve put together this handy list that informs you of just what marine solar panels are, as well as how they work. Let’s make boating that much more fun with marine solar installations from a workable solution!
What are marine solar panels?
Like we mentioned above, marine solar panels are solar panels that harness energy from the sun and use that energy to power the boat in a variety of ways. One of the most common uses of these marine solar panels is to use it to recharge the boat’s batteries or have it on the boat as a backup just in case the battery needs to be recharged at any time.
A marine solar panel can also be used as attachments to the current boat electrical system. Many companies make these products incredibly easy to use and attach to any electrical system that boats have while also making sure these solar panels come in more flexible shapes and sizes. The last thing you need is a huge, bulking solar panel hanging off the side of your boat because there’s no room! These solar panels can be installed in a variety of ways, including on canvas tops and other surface parts of the boat.
The two types of marine solar panels
There are actually two types of marine solar panels: flexible and standard.
Flexible marine solar panels are, as the name says, flexible. They can be curved or bent to fit whatever surface or need is deemed appropriate, making them great for smaller or tighter boats that just don’t have the extra room for a big solar panel. They’re great for installing on irregular surfaces as they actually don’t have a metal backing. This lack of a metal backing makes them quite light, easy to deal with, and great for odd surfaces or parts of the boat.
Standard marine solar panels are the standard panels that you probably think of when you think of solar panels to begin with. This means they have aluminum backing (like most solar panels do). This also means that they’re great in rain and other possibly harsh weather conditions, as they are sturdier than the flexible marine solar panels. However, because they have this aluminum backing, they’re quite heavy. When comparing both flexible marine solar panels and standard panels, you can very quickly tell just how much heavier standard marine panels are. Because of this, these panels are best for the boaters that maybe have a bit more room in their boat—room enough that a solar panel won’t bother them when they’re out on the water. These panels are also great if you live in an area that seems to get harsh weather conditions.
Reasons to choose marine solar panels
Marine solar panels, like all solar powered panels, are beneficial to those who are looking for a way to charge something or bring power to something by using renewable energy practices. Marine solar panels are no different. However, there are also some great overall benefits when adapting to solar panels on your boat.
First of all, you’re going to be saving fuel. When you use a solar panel attached to your boat’s current electrical system, you’re not going to be using up all that fuel. Instead, you’ll be using more of the renewable energy that your solar panels have harnessed, meaning you’ll be saving money instead!
Marine solar panels are also beneficial because you’ll be energy independent—or, at least, your boat will. When you stop relying on fuel as much, you’ll be relying on the sun. You’ll be able to become much more energy independent by using renewable energy.
How do marine solar panels work?
Like most solar panels, marine solar panels work by harnessing the energy that they gain from the sun and using that to power a product (in this case, a boat). Basically, the light from the sun hits the solar panels, which then activates the electrons that are resting on the solar panel’s surface. Then, as the electrons become activated, they jump around and create DC charges. This energy that has been created is then stored in the batteries that are attached to the solar panels, where they wait to be used.
Solar panels tend to have a long lifespan. For the most part, good quality standard marine solar panels will last you about 20 years. However, some of the flexible marine panels have been said to have a much shorter lifespan, at around five years. However, this all does depend on the company and brand you buy, but standard solar panels are sturdy and will always last you longer. If you need a flexible solar panel, though, they really are well worth it—as long as you know that you may have to replace them in 5 to 10 years.
Marine solar panels work best when they are connected to your current boat electrical system. It should be worth noting that this system works best when the current boat system is attached to the solar panels. This means that, if the solar panels are every out of energy harnessed (like if the sun isn’t out for days on end), the normal electrical system in the boat will take over. Still, even with both of these systems attached, you’ll be saving money in the long run by not having to buy more and more fuel.
Marine solar panels can save you money while keeping your boat’s electrical system and battery stable and reliable. After all, there is a reason renewable energy is such an amazing source.